Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Rebuilding Together Receives Health Advocate Award

Rebuilding Together Receives Health Advocate Award

National Nonprofit Recognized for Leadership and Contributions in Health Field
WASHINGTON, DC - Rebuilding Together, the nation's leading nonprofit working to preserve affordable homeownership, was presented the Health Advocate Award by the American Occupational Therapy Association, Inc. at their 2010 Annual Conference.

The Health Advocate Award is presented to those who have significantly contributed on a national level to the advancement of health promotion and/or health care. Rebuilding Together's core work in health and care in the home has been recognized by the American Occupational Therapy Association, which is greatly aligned with the representation of this award.
"Our relationship with the American Occupational Therapy Association is critical to maintain and increase our ability to deliver quality, appropriate services," said Greg Secord, Director of Safe at Home of Rebuilding Together, who accepted the award.

Rebuilding Together's core mission and work is to rebuild homes to be safe and warm for homeowners often living in hazardous conditions, but the organization has also created additional programs to further their cause in various ways. Rebuilding Together has created several program initiatives throughout their organization's history that are dedicated to the safety of the home and the homeowner and their families. "Safe at Home," is an initiative that focuses on the safety of older adults or people living with disabilities. This program conducts renovations that ensure the homeowner can safely live and age-in-place - maintaining their home and independence. Appliances, grab-bars, wheelchair ramps, and other renovations focus on the safety and health of a homeowner that faces constant hazards due to age or physical limitations. The Green Housing initiative utilizes green and lead-safe practices during Rebuilding Together's projects, installs energy-efficient appliances, conducts other energy-efficient upgrades in the home, and aims to educate homeowners and communities on the health benefits of an energy efficient way-of-life.

About Rebuilding Together
Rebuilding Together is the nation's leading nonprofit organization working to preserve affordable homeownership and revitalize neighborhoods by providing extensive rehabilitation and modification services to those in need at no cost to those served. With the help of everyday citizen volunteers, skilled trades people, the support of local business and major corporate partners, Rebuilding Together affiliates in America's largest cities and smallest towns make life considerably better for thousands of low-income homeowners and the communities in which they live by completing 10,000 projects per year. Rebuilding Together has programs dedicated to, energy efficiency, veteran's housing, aging in place and gulf coast reconstruction.


Monday, May 24, 2010

Volunteer Of The Month: John Hanks

John, with YPS volunteers helping with Warehouse Clean-Up

John first became involved with Rebuilding Together Seattle last year for SRD 2009 when he moved back to the Seattle area after going to school in California. He really wanted to get involved with a group that helped out in the community, and RTS was a good fit for him because of his construction background.

"I like RTS because it directly helps local people in need," John said. "I love the camaraderie that working with RTS creates among the volunteers and seeing how much positive change we can make by working together. RTS helps people who really need the help - low-income elderly and disabled people- and who might not qualify for other programs because they are homeowners."

Humility can also be added to John's many virtues:

"It's a great honor to receive this recognition, but I'm definitely not the only one working hard as a Rebuilding Together volunteer. The board, YPS committee, and volunteers who help to organize all of the events do far more than me, I'm sure!"

John was instrumental in RTS receiving a generous contribution from the Swinerton Foundation that will be used for an inaugural RTS Young Professional Society Rebuild Day on July 17th!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Thank You, United Rentals!

Rebuilding Together Seattle wants to give a shout out to United Rentals for their generosity on Spring Rebuilding Day 2010.  They donated their services and equipment for use on the Labateyah Youth Home:

Thank You, United Rentals! 

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

RTS Energizer: Steven Diesburg (Booz Allen Hamilton)

Matt Coldwell, project leader at the Booz Allen Hamilton site, nominated Steven Diesburg as the group's RTS Energizer, for his willingness to go above and beyond and for taking on those projects others were unwilling to do!

"Steve has joined us every year I’ve been involved and seems to end up with the difficult projects no one else wants to do," Matt explained.  "This year it was the bathroom, which was somewhat of a beast!!"

Thank you for your enthusiasm on those tough projects, Steve!

To make a donation to Rebuilding Together Seattle in Steve's honor, please visit our donation website!

RTS Energizer: Stephanie and Duncan (Concierge Guild of Seattle)

Richard Petrone, Project Leader at the Concierge Guild of Seattle SRD 2010 site, chose Stephanie Model and Duncan Nelson as the RTS Energizers

The choice for Richard was hard, as everyone had a can-do attitude.  "The reason I have picked these two is that they had the most impact with the short time they were there," Richard said. "The area they finished motivated the rest of the volunteers every time they walked past their area and looked at the garden area they built with the flowers planted as well."

Great work, Stephanie and Duncan!

To make a donation to Rebuilding Together Seattle in Stephanie or Duncan's honor, please visit our donation website!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

RTS Energizer: Russ Schultz (Honeywell)

Project Leader at the Honeywell site (and RTS Board of Directors member), Gary Ballas, chose Russ Schultz as their sites' RTS Energizer.

Russ, working on installing a fan in an upstairs bathroom!

"Russ is deserving as the RTS Energizer due to his infectious “can do” attitude and ability to take on anything thrown his way," Gary explained.  "He did an excellent job running the bathroom project, having many overlapping and somewhat uncertain tasks. He quickly solved all problems and found a way to get it all done, while maintaining a positive environment for those working with him."

Good Job, Russ!!

To make a donation to Rebuilding Together Seattle in Russ's honor, please visit our donation website!

Veterans Helping Veterans on SRD 2010

In 2009, Rebuilding Together National partnered with Sears, in support of their National Veterans Housing Initiative. In February, Rebuilding Together Seattle received notification of a Heroes At Home grant through Sears, to sponsor three veterans projects on Spring Rebuilding Day 2010 (Saturday, April 24th)!

One of the Sears projects was lead by veteran Mike Santopolo, with the help of Project Leader and RTS employee, Jason Cummings. The homeowner, Robert, is a 67 year-old Vietnam veteran. Robert lives in Kirkland with his wife, Fredda. Robert is a quadriplegic due to a recent accident and dependent on his ventilator to live at his home. Fredda provides 24-hour support for Robert, as their family is unable to afford full-time care. Robert's son Kevin, an employee of Sears, contacted Rebuilding Together Seattle after hearing about the Heroes at Home program. Their lives were turned upside down after Robert's accident and resulting disabilities, but Robert and Fredda remained strong and positive.

Initially, the project was to build a deck off the back of the house, make a cement slab for the generator, and construct the kitchen to make it more accessible for Robert. As it turned out, there were enough volunteers to do accomplish additional projects, including cleaning up the front and back yard. Fredda told several volunteers that the garden was one of her husband’s favorite past times.

Volunteers working in the backyard

Volunteers building a deck

Most of the volunteers that joined the project were from the Veteran Conservation Corps, with some help from long-term RTS supporter, CITC Apprentice. Other local community members joined the group, including First Gentleman, Mike Gregoire (husband to Washington State Governor, Chris Gregoire) and the program manager of the Veteran Conservation Corps, Mark Fisher. Almost all volunteers in attendance for the project were veterans, including Mr. Gregoire.

Mr. Gregoire, or "First Mike" as he liked to be called, started his volunteer experience by grabbing a rake and shovel and getting to work on the landscaping of the backyard. Later, he decided to go to the hospital to visit Robert, who was being hospitalized for pneumonia.

First Mike, visiting Robert and Fredda in the hospital

Mr. Gregoire commented on his experience at the project site and at the hospital:

“I was honored to have the opportunity to participate in Spring Rebuilding Day to assist a Veteran in need. The volunteers that came out to help last Saturday were truly 'volunteer heroes' for the Great State of Washington, and the Governor and I want to extend our sincerest thanks for their work," he said. "It was a pleasure to visit Bob in the hospital and see the sparkle in his eye when we spoke about the work being done on his house, yard and deck. Rebuilding Together Seattle has found a phenomenal way to pay tribute to our veterans; by serving them back."

After returning from the hospital, Fredda was welcomed back to her house by the hustle and bustle of busy volunteers working in her yard and the new deck out back. She was also greeted by Mike Flood, Vice President of Community Relations for the Seattle Seahawks and Sounders FC. Mike presented her and Robert with a commemorative Seahawks coin representing the Seahawks commitment to servicemen and women. Quite an honor!
Fredda, receiving a commemorative coin from Mike Flood

As volunteers wrapped up for the day and headed home, they all left with a sense of accomplishment and pride knowing that they helped Robert gain independence and safety in his home!
RTS also thanks S.D. Deacon, J2 Building Consultants, Honeywell, Booz Allen Hamilton, the Assumption Parish Community, and the Shoreline Fire Department for helping veterans and their families on April 24th!

Group photo of the volunteers

Before and After of Robert's home in Kirkland:


Rebuilding Together's Affiliates and Partners Respond to Natural Disaster in Tennessee

WASHINGTON, DC - Due to the unprecedented flooding in Tennessee recently, low-income homeowners have been disproportionately impacted by the devastation. Not only are their homes and personal belongings destroyed, but often they lack the resources and insurance to rebuild once the crisis is past. Rebuilding Together, the nation's leading nonprofit working to preserve affordable homeownership, will be there once the flood waters have receeded. In the coming days and months, local Tennessee based Rebuilding Together affiliates will be assisted by the national office to carry out critical relief efforts.

The flash flooding that has recently wreaked havoc and disaster in Tennessee, most specifically in the areas stretching from Nashville to Western Tennessee, has greatly impacted countless neighborhoods. The National Office of Rebuilding Together has launched initial outreach to the two Rebuilding Together affiliates in Tennessee - Rebuilding Together Nashville and Rebuilding Together Sparta/White County. Thousands of low-income homeowners were immediately impacted by the natural disaster and will require clean-up, rebuilding and preservation assistance from Rebuilding Together.

"Rebuilding Together's National Office has recognized the urgency of this situation and will direct every effort necessary to help our affiliates access as many resources as possible so that they may assist low-income homeowners who have been adversely affected by this natural disaster," said Gary A. Officer, President and CEO of Rebuilding Together. "As a leading housing organization, we know how critical appropriate response time is needed in the wake of natural disasters - we are willing and able to help homeowners who have experienced great loss as a result of the flooding."

In addition to providing resources and assistance to its Tennessee affiliates, Rebuilding Together is also proactively inviting the public and corporate sponsors to donate to the rebuilding needs of the impacted communities. They intend to raise a continued awareness for this area to ensure that a long-term recovery plan is created and carried out.

Rebuilding Together Nashville has been an affiliate of Rebuilding Together for 16 years and has completed 107 homes with the help of over 3,508 volunteers since its original inception. They have been greatly involved with rebuilding projects in the neighborhoods that have been most affected by the recent floods.

Rebuilding Together also plans to collaborate with its latest national partner, PLAN!T NOW, a severe storm preparedness non-profit co-founded by Morgan Freeman, to provide educational and other supportive resources.

To learn more about Rebuilding Together and its work to assist low-income homeowners, visit their website at

Monday, May 10, 2010

RTS Energizer: Tim Roth (Eric Kormondy project)

Project Manager, Eric Kormondy, elected project leader of Adobe, Tim Roth, as his SRD 2010 site's RTS Energizer.

"Tim just kept at it all day and was an inspiration to other members of his company, Adobe," Eric said. "Most years it is usually our core group that is there till the end, but this year we grew by one member- Tim!"

Great work, Tim!

To make a donation to Rebuilding Together Seattle in Tim's honor, please visit our donation website!

RTS Energizer: Ferdinand Baricevic (Assumption Parish & Premiere Builders NW)

Assumption Parish and Premiere Builders NW sponsored a project at a house in Shoreline, making improvements to the home of a disabled mother and daughter, including installing flooring in the daughter's room that is seizure-safe. Project Leaders (and RTS Board members), Tim Lane and Anne Quigg, chose Ferdinand Baricevic as their RTS Energizer.

"Ferd" was chosen for his tireless effort to ‘git ‘er dun’ over this multi-week project. "Ferd made Home Depot runs, engaged the services of the Knights of Columbus men’s group from Assumption, utilized his skills (especially his ladderless mudding and taping that comes in handy with a 6’-6” frame), consulted with others with his excellent overall home repair knowledge, picked up cabinets from the far reaches of the city and put in long hours throughout the project,"  Tim said.  "We are indebted to him for his array of talents."

Thank you, Ferd!

To make a donation to Rebuilding Together Seattle in Ferdinand's honor, please visit our donation website!

Friday, May 7, 2010

SRD 2010 Photo Contest WINNERS!

After the intense amount of anticipation that I am sure you have all been feeling- biting your fingernails, checking the blog every day, double checking your sent mail to be sure you submitted your photos on time- the day of reckoning has finally arrived. First off- there were SO MANY great photos submitted!! Thank you all for taking the time to submit your photos to us!

And now, without further ado...


Submitted by Doug Wilson of Copiers Northwest


Taken by Kelly Guiberson - O'Dea High School parent


Submitted by Richard Petrone of the Concierge Guild of Seattle


Submitted by Claire Karlberg of the RTS Young Professionals Society

MISCELLANEOUS (new category):

Submitted by Gary Ballas of Honeywell

We also decided to post the runners up because there were so many great photos submitted!

Best Action Runners Up:

Submitted by Arnie Mondloch of the Gonzaga Alumni Association

Submitted by Collete Ketola of the RTS Young Professionals Society

Best Group Runner Up:

Submitted by Claire Karlberg of the RTS Young Professionals Society

Best Before and After Runners Up:

Submitted by Tim Brincefield of the Center for Spiritual Living

Submitted by Gary Ballas of Honeywell

Best Homeowner Runner Up:

Submitted by Gary Ballas of Honeywell

Best Miscellaneous Runners Up:

Submitted by Claire Karlberg of the RTS Young Professionals Society

Submitted by Katie Herche of the Gonzaga Alumni Association

Thank you, everyone, for your participation and enthusiasm on Spring Rebuilding Day 2010!

RTS Energizer: Ken Britton (J2 Consulting)

J2 Building Consultants worked on the home of a veteran and his family living in Everett.  Project Leader, Mary Barnes, chose Ken Britton as their RTS Energizer.

"Ken helped with the bathroom prep/demo work on Friday 4/23, working till 7:30 that night. Then he was at home depot that evening till 9:00 getting supplies for the next day, so we could all get started first thing Saturday morning," Mary explained.  "He worked all day with us Saturday, pushing ahead in the bathroom renovation work, without complaint. And believe me, just about everything that could go wrong did. Ken stayed late Saturday evening (till 7:00), trying to finish up as much as he could, making sure the toilet was reinstalled so the owners could use the bathroom that night. Ken even returned to the site Sunday morning to finish reinstalling the bathroom shower door so the owners could finally use the new improved shower!"

Great work, Ken!! Thank you for your enthusiasm and for going above and beyond!

To make a donation to Rebuilding Together Seattle in Ken's honor, please visit our donation website!

RTS Energizer: Glen Kuntz (S.D. Deacon)

The S.D. Deacon crew worked on the house of veteran Donald, doing yard cleanup and building a deck, among other projects.  Project Leaders, Sara Lattimer and Jeremy Grisham, chose Glen Kuntz to be the team's RTS Energizer

"Glen jumped right into the deck-building part of the project, picked up the materials, laid out the work - all with an amazingly positive attitude - and even took time to coach and train the people working on the decks with him," Sara explained.  "His cheerful energy kept everyone moving all day!"

Glen, working hard on the deck- Sara joked that she only had pictures of his side or back! He was working too hard to stop for a photo shoot :)

To make a donation to Rebuilding Together Seattle in Glen's honor, please visit our donation website!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

RTS Energizer: Douglas Gray (Mike Santopolo & WDVA)

Mike Santopolo and the WA Department of Veterans Affairs helped out a disabled veteran on Spring Rebuilding Day 2010. Project leaders, Mike and Jason Cummings, named Douglas Gray as their RTS Energizer. Not only did he go above and beyond on April 24th, he volunteered to come back and worked another 6 hours the next day - What a trooper!

"Doug continually hung in there until the last project was completed. During the rebuilding day, he always looked for projects to do and volunteered for all tasks," Jason explained. "Whether it was working on the saw, pounding nails on the deck, or making runs to the home improvement store, Doug went above and beyond! Thank you Doug!"

Great work Doug!!

To make a donation to Rebuilding Together Seattle in Doug's honor, please visit our donation website!